Saturday, November 10, 2018
BY RADHYA ALMUTAWAKEL, ABDULRASHEED ALFAQIH
The world was rightly outraged by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, but the bombs of Mohammed bin Salman and his Emirati allies are killing dozens each day in Yemen.
jamal Khashoggi was but the latest victim of a reckless arrogance that has become the hallmark of Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy. Yemenis were saddened, but not surprised, at the extent of the brutality exhibited in Khashoggi’s killing, because our country has been living through this same Saudi brutality for almost four years.
As human rights advocates working in Yemen, we are intimately familiar with the violence, the killing of innocents, and the shredding of international norms that have been the hallmarks of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in our country. For nearly four years, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, that has cynically and viciously bombarded Yemen’s cities, blockaded Yemen’s ports, and prevented humanitarian aid from reaching millions in need.
According to the Yemen Data Project, Saudi and Emirati aircraft have conducted over 18,500 air raids on Yemen since the war began—an average of over 14 attacks every day for over 1,300 days. They have bombed schools, hospitals, homes, markets, factories, roads, farms, and even historical sites. Tens of thousands of civilians, including thousands of children, have been killed or maimed by Saudi airstrikes.
But the Saudis and Emiratis couldn’t continue their bombing campaign in Yemen without U.S. military support.
Saudis and Emiratis couldn’t continue their bombing campaign in Yemen without U.S. military support.
American planes refuel Saudi aircraft en route to their targets, and Saudi and Emirati pilots drop bombs made in the United States and the United Kingdom onto Yemeni homes and schools Nevertheless, U.S. attention to the war in Yemen has been largely confined to brief spats of outrage over particularly dramatic attacks, like the August school bus bombing that killed dozens of children.
Saudi crimes in Yemen are not limited to regular and intentional bombing of civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. By escalating the war and destroying essential civilian infrastructure, Saudi Arabia is also responsible for the tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians who have died from preventable disease and starvation brought on by the war. The United Nations concluded that blockades have had “devastating effects on the civilian population” in Yemen, as Saudi and Emirati airstrikes have targeted Yemen’s food production and distribution, including the agricultural sector and the fishing industry.
Meanwhile, the collapse of Yemen’s currency due to the war has prevented millions of civilians from purchasing the food that exists in markets. Food prices have skyrocketed, but civil servants haven’t received regular salaries in two years. Yemenis are being starved to death on purpose, with starvation of civilians used by Saudi Arabia as a weapon of war.
Three-quarters of Yemen’s population—over 22 million men, women, and children—are currently dependent on international aid and protection. The U.N. warned in September that Yemen soon will reach a “tipping point,” beyond which it will be impossible to avoid massive civilian deaths. Over 8 million people are currently on the verge of starvation, a figure likely to rise to 14 million—half of the country—by the end of 2018
Over 8 million people are currently on the verge of starvation, a figure likely to rise to 14 million—half of the country—by the end of 2018
if the fighting does not subside, import obstructions are not removed, and the currency is not stabilized.
To be clear, there is no party in this war is without blood on its hands; our organization, Mwatana, has documented violations against civilians by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, not only Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have killed and injured hundreds of civilians through their use of landmines and indiscriminate shelling, while militias backed by the United Arab Emirates, Yemeni government-backed militias, and Houthi militias have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, and tortured civilians. But the de facto immunity that the international community has given Saudi Arabia through its silence prevents real justice for violations by all sides.
The people of the Middle East have long and bitter experience with international double standards when it comes to human rights, as purported champions of universal rights in the West regularly ignore grave violations by their allies in the region, from the former shah of Iran to Saddam Hussein to Saudi Arabia’s current crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
This double standard was on display during the crown prince’s recent tour of world capitals and Silicon Valley, where he was generally praised as a “reformer,” and media figures recited his vision for Saudi Arabia in the year 2030 without asking what will be left of Yemen by the year 2020 if the war continues.
Similarly, this double standard is on display when Western policymakers downplay Saudi and Emirati violations of Yemenis’ human rights by claiming that a close partnership with Riyadh is needed to prevent perceived Iranian threats to the international community, without asking whether that same community is also endangered by Saudi Arabia’s daily violations of basic international norms. And yes, there is a double standard in the wall-to-wall coverage of Khashoggi’s horrific murder, when the daily murder of Yemenis by Saudi Arabia and other parties to the conflict in Yemen hardly merits mention.
The relationship goes back to the late 1930s, just after Abdul Aziz ibn Saud consolidated squabbling Arab tribes into a kingdom. U.S. energy companies had discovered oil in the Arabian Peninsula, and they asked their government to promote their interests with the new monarch. In 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz aboard a U.S. ship in the Suez Canal, and the two got along famously. FDR gave the ailing king one of his own wheelchairs, which the king later called his "most precious possession." FDR succeeded in ensuring that the U.S., and not the British, would control Saudi oil. In return, the U.S. would provide security for the kingdom: Within a few years, a U.S. military base was set up near the oil fields. Over the decades, the oil-for-security arrangement has become vital to both countries. Saudi Arabia is now the U.S. defense industry's largest foreign customer, buying some $112 billion worth of weapons during the Obama administration alone.
Has the alliance ever wavered?
The 1973 oil embargo was a major rough patch. For a year, the Saudis quit selling to the U.S. in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. But the two countries made up, united in opposition to the Soviet Union. Even the 9/11 attacks couldn't loosen the bond. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers who flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were Saudi nationals, and U.S. public opinion turned strongly against the kingdom after Saudi citizens were allowed to leave the U.S. right after the attack — before the FBI could interview them. But President George W. Bush, whose family had long-standing Saudi business relationships, stood by the alliance, and in 2005, he was photographed holding hands with then–Crown Prince Abdullah. In the decade after 9/11, the Saudis spent more than $100 million on public relations in the U.S., trying to overcome the country's image as an exporter of terrorism.
Is that image true?
Yes. Decades ago, the Saudi monarchy made a tacit bargain with radical Islamists in the country: It would fund the spread of Wahhabism, the Saudi form of ultraconservative Islam, and jihadism around the world, as long as the radicals didn't blow up targets inside Saudi Arabia. Saudi money funded Islamist militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, and the Russian province of Chechnya. After 9/11, Saudi officials claimed to have turned off the money spigot. But secret U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in 2009 said Saudi Arabia "remains a critical financial support base" for al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, giving them "millions of dollars annually."
What about human rights?
With its draconian form of sharia law, Saudi Arabia's autocratic government is consistently rated among "the worst of the worst" human rights offenders. Its gender apartheid system treats women as second-class citizens — shrouded in abayas, dependent on male guardians, and mostly barred from going out alone and from any form of public life. There's no freedom of religion, and the press is censored. Brutal, public floggings and stonings are the penalty for such crimes as adultery and apostasy. Those arrested are routinely tortured to extract confessions. Last year, Saudi Arabia put to death 146 people for crimes including murder and drug dealing; most of the executions were beheadings.
What's in it for the U.S.?
Saudi oil, of course, although last year it made up only 9 percent of what the U.S. used, because of our fracking revolution. More strategically important today is the Saudis' regional role in counterbalancing Iran. Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when Iranian mullahs took U.S. diplomats hostage, the U.S. has seen Iran as the most dangerous actor in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, which practices Sunni Islam, opposes the Iranian Shiite theocracy's proxy interventions in other Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. More recently, the Saudis have begun working with America's other major regional ally, Israel, because both countries see Iran as an existential threat.
How has Trump affected the relationship?
The president has long-standing business ties with the Saudis; by his own account, he's sold them millions of dollars' worth of real estate. "Am I supposed to dislike them?" he asked while campaigning for president. "I like them very much." Since taking office, he has made the Saudi alliance a priority; his first foreign trip was to Riyadh. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner quickly grew close to one of the king's sons, Mohammed bin Salman, and the administration strongly supported Mohammed's elevation to crown prince last year, viewing him as a reformer intent on modernizing his country. Congress, though, is not so enamored. The killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month prompted the Senate to invoke the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which requires the president to identify within four months which individual Saudis should be sanctioned. "In moments like this, you have to embrace your values," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). "No more transactional interactions."
U.S. support for the war in Yemen
Barack Obama initially backed Saudi Arabia's war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen in 2015 in order to prevent the overthrow of the Yemeni government. But after thousands of civilians were killed in Saudi airstrikes, Obama suspended a sale to the Saudi military of some $390 million in weaponry. Trump pushed that sale through right after he took office, and U.S.-made laser-guided bombs are now being used against Houthi militants and Yemeni civilians. The Pentagon is also giving the Saudis intelligence help in identifying targets, and U.S. planes provide midair refueling for Saudi aircraft. Since last year, U.S. special forces have been stationed on the Saudi-Yemen border to help the Saudis destroy Houthi missile sites. This support, though, may soon end, as hunger and chaos threaten millions of Yemeni civilians. "Now is the time to move forward on stopping this war," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi is the head of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee.
The continued escalation of attacks against the port city of Hodeida in Yemen by the U.S.-Saudi-Emirati coalition confirms that the American calls for a cease-fire are nothing but empty talk. The recent statements are trying to mislead the world. Saudi leaders are reckless and have no interest in diplomacy. The United States has the clout to bring an end to the conflict — but it has decided to protect a corrupt ally.
Any observer of the crimes committed in Yemen by Saudi Arabia — a campaign that has been accompanied by disinformation and a blockade of journalists trying to cover the war — can offer an account of the indiscriminate killing thousands of civilians, mostly through airstrikes. Their attacks have led to the greatest humanitarian crisis on earth.
The brutality of the Saudi regime was reflected in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And it can be seen in the military escalation and airstrikes in Hodeida and other cities, in defiance of all international warnings.
The blockade of the port city is meant to bring the Yemeni people to their knees. The coalition is using famine and cholera as weapons of war. It is also extorting the United Nations by threatening to cut their funds, as if it were a charity and not a responsibility required under international law and Security Council resolutions.
The United States wants to be viewed as an honest mediator — but it is in fact participating and sometimes leading the aggression on Yemen.
We are defending ourselves — but we don’t have warplanes like the ones that bomb Yemenis with banned ammunition. We can’t lift the blockade imposed on Yemeni imports and exports. We cannot cancel the air embargo and allow daily flights, or end the ban of importing basic commodities, medicines and medical equipment from any place other than the United Arab Emirates, as it is imposing on Yemeni business executives.
And the list goes on. These repressive practices are killing and destroying Yemen.
Yemen was not the one who declared the war in the first place. Even Jamal Benomar, the former United Nations envoy to Yemen, said we were close to a power-sharing deal in 2015 that was disrupted by the coalition airstrikes. We are ready to stop the missiles if the Saudi-led coalition stops its airstrikes.But the United States’ calling to stop the war on Yemen is nothing but a way to save face after the humiliation caused by Saudi Arabia and its spoiled leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has ignored Washington’s pleas to clarify Khashoggi’s murder.Moreover, Trump and his administration clearly prefer to continue this devastating war because of the economic returns it produces — they drool over those arms sales profits.
We love peace — the kind of honorable peace defended by our revolution’s leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi. We are ready for peace, the peace of the brave. God willing, Yemenis will remain the callers of peace and lovers of peace.
د لاهور هایي کورټ د نومبر پر نهمه هغه درخواست د اورېدنې لپاره منظور کړ په کوم کې چې دتحریک لبېک پاکستان پر مشر خادم حسېن رضوي او د جمعیت علما اسلام ف ډلې پر مشر مولانا فضل الرحمان د غدارۍ مقدمې درجولو غوښتنه شوې ده.
د لاهور هایي کورټ جج جسټس باقر نجفي ویلي دي چې د ولسي وګړي شبیرالله د دې درخواست اوریدنه به د نومبر پر ۱۲مه کېږي.
په درخواست کې ویل شوي چې خادم حسېن رضوي او مولانا فضل الرحمان د سپریم کورټ د اسیه بی بی کېس په فېصلې تنقید کړی دی ، د ریاست او پوځ پرضد یې خبرې کړې دي ، خلک یې راپارولي او د ولس جایدادونو ته یې زیان رسولی دی.
په درخاست کې غوښتنه شوې ده چې عدالت دې د خادم حسېن رضوي او مولانا فضل الرحمان پرضد د غدارۍ مقدمې درجولو په اړه حکومت ته د پالیسي جوړولو امر وکړي.
د پاکستان سپریم کورټ د اکتبر پ ۳۱مه د اسلام پېغمبر ته په سپکاوي تورنه شوې عیسوۍ مېرمن اسیه بي بي بې ګناه وګرځوله او د هغې د خوشي کولو امر یې وکړ.
نوموړې بیا د عدالتي پرېکړې په رڼا کې په ملتان کې له زندانه خوشې شوه خو کره ځای یې نه دی مالوم چې هغه اوس چېرې ده.
تر هغه وروسته د تحریک لبیک پاکستان او جمعیت علما اسلام په ګډون د نورو مذهي ډلو له خوا احتجاجي مظاهرې پیل شوې.
په دې احتجاجونو کې پر حکومت ، عدالت او پوځ یو شمېر نیوکې وشوې.
د جمعیت علما اسلام ف ډلې غړې او پخوانۍ د قامي اسمبلۍ غړې نعیمه کشور خان مشال راډیو ته وویل چې عدالت ته تګ د هر چا حق دی خو د دوې په وینا ، د دوي د ګوند مشر مولانا فضل الرحمان د این او قانون پرضد څه خبره نه ده کړې.
د تحریک لبیک پاکستان له خوا تر اوسه د لاهور په های کورټ کې د ورکړل شوي درخواست په اړه څه غبرګون مخې ته نه دی راغلی.
Petitions and campaigns have been launched against right-wing Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan(TLP), in the wake of the violent protests followed by Asia Bibi's acquittal on October 31, 2018. Pakistani Christian Aasiya Noreen (widely known as Asia Bibi) was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging by a Pakistani court for allegedly making derogatory comments against Islam — a charge she denies.
After Asia Bibi's acquittal, TLP led a violent wave of protests which took over major cities of the country and brought the country to a halt for three days. The protesters demanded that the acquittal be reversed and Bibi hanged. Violent protesters were seen carrying sticks, guns, and swords and were burning down vehicles and blocking roads.
Soon after the protests spread over the country, a campaign to launch petitions against TLP for spreading extremism was initiated. A non-profit awareness project, Pakistan Votes urged people to join to legally proceed against the TLP leaders, Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Pir Qadri. They posted on Facebook:
Within a day, 175 Pakistani citizens volunteered to petition against the political group:
Simultaneously, another campaign to ban the TLP was launched by the civil society with the hashtag #BanTLP. Activist Jibran Nasir tweeted:
People joined the civil society in support. One netizen tweeted:
Aasia Bibi and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan:
After three days of the shutdown, a treaty was signed between TLP and the government. According to the treaty, Asia Bibi's name would be put in the Exit Control List that means she would not be able to exit the country. Her case was to be sent into appeal and the TLP arrested workers were to be released.
Asia Bibi was released from prison on November 7, 2018, and was moved to an undisclosed location in Islamabad by the government after receiving death threats.
Recent rumors of Asia's exit from the country has stirred more controversy, and TLP again plans to hold countrywide protests. The country is watching the situation with bated breath as the government struggles to put things back to normal.